The Faculty Artist Series Presents: Charles Pillow, Jazz Saxophone with Gary Versace, Piano/Accordion

November 21, 2017

More Information:
For Media Only: Jessica A. Kaufman (585-274-1057,

Charles Pillow headshotThe Faculty Artist Series, brings two current Eastman School of Music Faculty members: Charles Pillow, jazz saxophone, with Gary Versace, piano/accordion, on Tuesday, November 28, 8 p.m., at Eastman School of Music’s Hatch Recital Hall.

With 5 CDs to his credit, Charles Pillow has established himself as one of today’s premier woodwind multi-instrumentalists. His orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition (2004) and Gustav Holst’s The Planets (2007), both on ArtistShare, and Van Gogh Letters (2010) on ELCM, have earned critical acclaim. enthused, “Pillow is on the cutting edge of a trend. He ushers in a previously unexploited way to enliven and extend jazz.”

A fluent performer, teacher, and touring musician he has performed on over 100 recordings of jazz and pop artists, including Michael Brecker, Maria Schneider, David Sanborn, Joe Henderson, John Scofield, Bob Mintzer, Bob Belden, Jay Z, David Liebman, Mariah Carey, Chaka Khan, Luther Vandross. Pillow is currently an Assistant Professor of Jazz and Saxophone at the Eastman School of Music.

Gary Versace, who received his master’s degree in music performance at the Eastman School of Music, is one of the busiest and most versatile musicians on the international jazz scene. He is often featured in bands led by musicians such as John Scofield, John Abercrombie, Al Foster, Regina Carter, Maria Schneider, Madeleine Peyroux, John Hollenbeck, and many others. He twice was a guest on NPR’s Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland, who described him as “endlessly inventive” and having “an extraordinary talent.”

Named a “Rising Star” on DownBeat Critics Polls in 2009 and 2010 and winner of the Jazz Journalists’ Association’s Best Organist award in 2012, Versace has released several CDs under his own name on the SteepleChase and Criss Cross labels, and has appeared as a guest on almost 50 more. He is the pianist on Ralph Alessi’s CD Quiver, which received 4.5 stars in DownBeat; as accordionist on Maria Schneider’s Grammy-winning The Thompson Fields; as Hammond organist on Ellery Eskelin’s Trip Willisau: Live and Rich Perry’s Organique; and on all three instruments on Kurt Elling’s Passion World. Versace is currently Associate Professor of Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media, Piano at the Eastman School of Music.

Their program includes music by Thelonious Monk, Hermet Pascoal, and Charles Pillow. 

The Faculty Artist Series is generously supported by Patricia Ward-Baker. 

Tickets for Eastman’s Faculty Artist Series are $10 for the general public and free to current Season Subscribers. Tickets can be purchased at the Eastman Theatre Box Office, 433 East Main St.; by phone (585) 274-3000; or online at

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About Eastman School of Music:

The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training. The current dean is Jamal Rossi, appointed in 2014.

About 900 students are enrolled in Eastman’s Collegiate Division– about 500 undergraduate and 400 graduate students. Students come from almost every state, and approximately 20 per cent are from other countries. They are guided by more than 95 full-time faculty members. Seven Pulitzer Prize winners have taught at Eastman, as have several Grammy Award winners. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 700 concerts to the Rochester community.